A keynote that brought much laughter but also some serious messages

Two Annes

Friday and Saturday, July 24th and 25th was the annual DLTV Conference (Digtial Learning and Teaching conference).

The bloopers!

I sat near the front for the opening keynote for the day with Celia Coffa. A lady jumped in the seat beside me and said she would just quickly sit here for a few moments. I introduced myself and found out her name was also Anne. I wondered why she just had a stack of papers in her hand as everyone else had a computer or mobile device! But each to their own!

Whilst the formalities of the day were being announced, I composed a tweet to state who the opening keynote was – a Comedian – Anne Edmonds and searched for her website so the link could go on the tweet. As I loaded it up, the lady beside me said that that was her! Oh dear, I was sitting next to the keynote speaker who has won an Australian award for her efforts in comedy work! I did tell I came from the country!

Anne was a great presenter and reminded us that failure can be the best teacher. She constantly learns through failures as a comedian.

and this tweet sums up another pearl of wisdom from the keynote

It was great to start the day with a laugh but to also reflect on some serious messages. Anne is well known for her comedy on Raylene the Racist that reflects typical Aussie humour..

As a teacher, it is good to hear from people in other professions to broaden our knowledge and perspective!

Learning at the DLTV Conference – #DigiCon15

Keynote - comedian Anne Edmonds

Keynote – comedian Anne Edmonds

It is many years since I have attended this conference physically. Although I have presented virtually over the last 3 years, it is good to attend the Victorian Technology Educators conference -and catch up with many of my Victorian colleagues who I have worked with closely – and also to make new acquaintances. The conference offered a few different features to both presenters and participants:-

  • a charger for mobile devices (which featured the logos/names of all the exhibitors) instead of the usual carry away bag full of promotional flyers. (everyone loved this)
  • a gift certificate for presenters offering a donation to the charity of their choice.
  • a fringe festival (a little like the ignite sessions at ISTE) that ran parallel to the many formal sessions
  • keynote speakers were all Victorian educators, except for Anne Edmonds who is a Victorian comedian. (We all liked featuring our own successful/innovative educators rather than bringing in external speakers.

Other features:

  • people were to prebook for the formal sessions but could choose to go to any on the day provided room was available.
  • good food and networking
  • approximately 400 attendees which kept it to more intimate levels.

Social media used

  • the twitter hashtag was #DigiCon15
  • a conference app using YAPP
  • Jenny Ashby was busy using Periscope to video many of the presentations
  • Roland Gesthuizen and Amanda Rabbin captured many other sessions using google hangouts!
Deanne Joost - Virtual Drama

Deanne Joost – Virtual Drama

Sessions that I attended included:

  1. Informatics – a session that explained the new study design for 2016 in VCE IT
  2. Virtual Drama – this was a great session with Deanne Joosten as presenter. She talked about teaching VCE drama to a class that included 3 remote schools together with her own face to face. She share the many tools that she used to engage them and ensure that they were learning. These included: skype, MS Lync, sway, office mix, voki, padlet, OneNote, powtoon, quizlet, weebly and nearpod. See more in her blog Inspired Creative Tech.
  3. The afternoon keynote with Corrie Barclay who shared experiences, student work and a lot of pertinent advice for teachers.
  4. The Internet of Things and how it could be used in school. This is a topic of high interest and the mechanics of the Internet of Things was shared with a number of devices on display. objects at the internet of things
  5. My presentation completed the day “Look No Walls”. The resource document can be found here. 

Breaking down the barriers of language

connected classroom

One of the biggest barriers to global connections can be language! Students from different countries may be very shy and reluctant to communicate when they do they either do not speak the language at all or only minimally. Here is an idea, games or activity that can be fun to use in Skype and may be well suited for those classes connecting who speak a different language.


Memory Game

  1. Collect 10 objects and place them in a bag or box (eg scissors, newspaper, mug, ruler, flag, cultural objects, food etc)
  2. Remove objects from the bag, one at a time, share the object over the webcamera  to the distant class using videoconferencing eg skype
  3. Say the name of the object, hold a sign up to show how it is spelt
  4. Hide the objects back in the bag
  5. Students have to come up to the webcam, name each of the 10 objects in their language and then the language of the initiating class.
  6. The other class repeats.

sharing vegemite

Extending the learning – use skype translator, signs in the written language, google or bing translator or use one of the teachers as a translator etc.

Imagine if you connected with a class from a country

  • that speaks the second language taught at your school!
  • does not speak English at all!

What could the students learn from this? Why should we even try do this?

learning the language

There could be a number of variations on this game. What other games could we play when a common language is a barrier?

ISTE 2015

At the beginning…

At the first ISTE attended (four years ago), I filled in my day from start to end with sessions to attend. I closely perused the app and the paper copy of the program, asterisked those I wanted to attend, read the twitter feed and blog recommendations, joined queues at the conference centre, sometimes missed out due to the queue and then found an alternative session to attend. It was a very passive attendance where I soaked up knowledge, advice and resources like a sponge.

Conference days were filled, active and busy. Sometimes I would bump into online colleagues and spend time with them. On the last day I was walking  from one building to another when a pirate approached me to see what videoconferencing was about and the programs that could be offered over video conferencing. That introduced me to a whole new dimension – playgrounds, where I could actively play, interact with experts and mentors and get customized learning.

iste 2015

Fast forward to 2015

2015 ISTE was just as busy but in some ways less planned, where I ensured that I attended some sessions of favourite presenters and attended as many playgrounds and poster sessions as possible. It was a  time to ‘give back’ or ‘pay forward’ to others through my involvement with the Global Education Conference, ISTE Global PLN and Skype in the Classroom.

The Bloggers Cafe

The Bloggers Cafe

ISTE global pln poster session

ISTE global pln poster session

The Highlights

Julie Lindsay and Pernille Ripp who won the Global PLN award

Julie Lindsay and Pernille Ripp who won the Global PLN award

Networking: Being on the leadership of the global ISTE PLN, newly formed in 2014, meant a portion of the time was spent in meetings, poster sessions and a birds of a feather session. The network adds a powerful dimension to an educator and such opportunities provide time to broaden the network further on a global basis.  So much can be learnt by sharing with others, engaging in conversations, ensuring ongoing contact  and learning continue to take place once home and back in the classroom. It was great to catch up with Flat Connections, Global Classroom, Master Skype Educators and many other online colleagues.

Skype in the Classroom poster session

Skype in the Classroom poster session

The playgrounds and poster sessions: These included the mobile learning playground, the interactive videoconferencing and the early years playground. It was fun to be actively part of the iste global pln and Skype: Collaborating and Connecting Beyond Classroom Walls poster sessions. There was a lot to be learnt from the interactions with interested persons who stopped to chat and ask questions. It is always great to see what individuals and groups are doing with their classsrooms in the poster sessions.

Interactive videoconferencing playground

Interactive videoconferencing playground

Playing Mystery Skype

Playing Mystery Skype


The social opportunities provided outside of formal hours  – catching up with, and meeting flat connections and global classroom  colleagues for a meal or coffee or in the bloggers cafe to share further conversations.

The Global Education Summit on the Sunday

This is always a highlight listening to the ignite type sessions, participating in the round table discussions and furthering the learning and professional network. A great online document of crowdsourced materials can be found at Global Education  Day documents

Global Collaboration Birds of a Feather session

Julie Lindsay organised a successful BOF session and encouraged us to meet each other by writing 3 words that reflect on who we are on a screen or paper, then walking around the room viewing the other participants outcomes. Meet some of the participants by perusing the crowd sourced padlet.

Student involvement

Increasing evidence of student attendance and participation. Students could be found in the playgrounds and poster sessions and they shared their learning with passion. There were so many ideas to be gained eg in the robotics and coding playground, students helped me make a bracelet that featured the computer coding for the initials of my name. The robotics featured and actual examples of student robots in action drew crowds of people to watch.

A coded bracelet

A coded bracelet

Was this a first! In our global PLN Birds of a Feather session, we had a year 11 student who was interested in connecting globally. She had helped in the poster session, been given a conference tag and a program and continued to attend conference sessions that were of high interest to her. Thanks @varietygirl1 for bringing your experiences and ideas!

Personal Involvement – life was busy with global PLN and global education involvment, presentations involving poster sessions and a group presentation on ‘Magic of Mystery Skype‘.

The Buzz Words

  • Maker spaces
  • Passion Projects
  • Connected learning – a lot more talk about global collaboration and connections.
  • Games Based Learning
  • Coding


Some great resources that I have kept to look at later.

What resources have you seen being shared from ISTE2015 that should be taken note of? What were your highlights or if you did not go, what questions do you have.

Mystery Skype OneNote Book – a great free resource

Vesna and student

A Mystery Skype OneNote Book has been released full of resources, advice and tutorials and it is free.  You can read my blog post on Learning Adventures with Mystery Skype. There is something for everyone – both newbies and experienced. It includes video tutorials, tips, time zone convertors and advice on using the Bing Maps app to record where you and your students or class have skyped and best of all it is free. If you have MS Office 365 you can also get student NoteBooks all set up with proformas for your class to record, reflect and evaluate. This can develop into a great digital portfolio for them and is fully customizable.

Download the Mystery Skype Note book or if you live in the USA, you can text a message “mysteryskype” (without the talking marks) to 41411 You will be given a url for the website where you can download the Mystery Skype Notebook. It is best not to download it from your phone but to access that link from your computer or mobile device to download it. The book comes with lots of links found in sections and pages. Have fun exploring it all.

Have you downloaded it yet? What are your impressions?

mystery skype one note

Simple tools make for empowered learning

online timers On a number of occasions I have recently presented on some of my favourite tools. One very simple but effective tool that I often use is the online stopwatch or timer. The countdown timer was most frequently used but advertisements have started to appear. The site does have now have a free fun range of classroom timers which are ad free, fun and colourful. It was with some interest that I received an email from one of the participants in the online webinar to say that of the many tools shared, she tried the online timer the next day with her year 11 Business Management class.

Thank you for your webinar yesterday, it was very useful. I actually used the count down timer (bomb) this morning with year 12 accounting. That was the only technology involved in that activity. I had them playing Megabucks, the board game, to try and differentiate between cash and profit. They had thirty minutes to play the game and the timer worked to keep the game going at a faster rate and changed the nature of the play.

How can such a simple tool enhance learning:

  • gives students a time frame to work toward
  • keeps them on task (less likely to be bored)
  • forces them to work quickly
  • less chance of boredom and distractions as they know there is a time limit to the activity and there will be a a variety of activities following
  • gives realistic real life work skills – tasks have to be done within a time frame once out in the workforce
  • forces them to plan and work out strategies for completion

What would your answers be? Do you use a manual timer in class or an online timer? If so, why?

The World is My Classroom

Bob Greenberg invited a number of participants at ISTE 2015 to be videoed for his series called The Brainwaves Video Anthology. He produces this series and interviews ‘the thinkers, dreamers and innovators’ of education.

Please check out some of the amazing people he has captured in video. (Not sure how or why I fit in with many of these!! But was certainly proud to be part of the series.)

The instructions were to speak for 5 mins on a topic that I am passionate about in relation to education. It is not so easy to speak off the cuff and fortunately, the editing software removed my coughing fits, and many of my umms and aaahhs.! Below is the video.

Some other interviewed guests at ISTE involve the following. These people have similar interests and passions re global education

  1. Michael Soskil  Global Service Learning
  2. David Potter Make Learning Global
  3. Michael Graffin The Global Education Project
  4. Brandon Wiley Global Education
  5. David Young Global Education for All